Blood Orange French 75

I’d like to start off this post by saying that I’m not all that big into Valentine’s Day in my personal life. J and I don’t go out to dinner and I don’t expect jewels or flowers (although I usually do get the latter). We might use the occasion as a reason to buy a bottle of champagne and drink some bubbly things, but that’s about it. For some reason, though, I get really into thinking up Valentine’s Day posts. I made my crazy pink cake this weekend, and now I’ve got a delicious cocktail to share with you. But first, I’m going to tell you a story about how I’m a crazy person. A crazy person with an obsessive personality, an extreme loathing for rude, stupid jerks, and keen Internet sleuthing skills.

Last year, I did another Valentine’s Day cocktail. (Lord, looking at those pictures makes me feel like I’ve come a long way in a year!) And while J and I were out at lunch at one of our favorite restaurants, we got to talking to the bartender about drink ideas for Valentine’s Day, and J brought up my blog post. A few days later, they shared my post on their Facebook page, noting that they’d be serving that as a cocktail special on the 14th. No more than five minutes later, I received this comment. Erm, really dude? If trolling is your thing, fine, go for it. Live your dream. But I strongly believe that if you’re going to insult someone, you should make sure you actually know what you’re talking about. The Champagne Cocktail — not exactly a new thing. Nor is champagne as a mixer, in general. Thirty seconds of googling might have helped Kevin McDouche figure that out.

So, feeling taken aback and rather indignant, (especially since this person was mostly likely from the Burlington area), I decided to google the email address attached to the comment. It turned up a LinkedIn page. I then searched for Kevin [Last Name] + Burlington, and it brought me his Meetup page.  (And you guys, not only is he from Burlington as I suspected, but he’s a self-proclaimed foodie — I had no idea. I guess he must know what he’s talking about.) Turns out his last name isn’t McDouche, but it is one letter short of Lame, so it’s nearly as fitting.

I have since seen this guy around at a couple of restaurants. I’ve considered sending him a champagne cocktail, but I’m far too much of a weenie to do anything like that. (Also, it’s been a year, and at this point, that would be cause to brand me as a nutjob.) So instead, I’m taking this opportunity to tell all of you about it. And to make the point that enjoying a nice champagne is all well and good. But mix in other things, and you can create something even better. Like a French 75.

I love the French 75. I drink it. I’ve also been known to freeze and eat it. It is a fantastic combination of gin, citrus, sugar, and champagne. Its namesake is the French 75-mm field gun, which saw heavy use throughout World War I and was quite the advancement in weaponry at the time, as its recoil system allowed for smoother operation. Much like the field gun, this is a smooth drink that packs a quite a punch.

I have an obsession with thin, epically long citrus zest in my French 75s, which I think I must have picked up from Vintage Spirits and Forgotten Cocktails. (I leave out the cherry though — not my thing in this drink.) To get a thin citrus zest, you want to use something like this. (You could probably achieve a similar effect by using a vegetable peeler and then trimming it down, though it would be a little tedious.) Once you’ve gotten the zest of the citrus, just curl it up into a little pile and let it sit for a minute. This will help it hold its shape. Or you could not bother with this at all if you choose. But I really think it adds to the visual aesthetic. (And it kind of resembles a rose — so appropriate for the occasion.)

The original French 75 recipe calls for lemon juice, but I wanted to do a blood orange take on it. Mostly so I could snap pictures of blood oranges, and bring you a prettier finished product. (And I think it worked, if I do say so myself. The beautiful gradient thing that happened at the bottom of the glass makes me want to hug the pictures.) And the end result is extremely delicious. So, in short, I’m saying to you: make these. Make them now. Make them on the 14th. Make them for you and your other, or make them for yourself. If you enjoy a strong, bubbly drink, then you want to drink this.

Blood Orange French 75

makes: 1 drink

  • 2 oz. of gin
  • 1 oz. of blood orange juice
  • 1 tsp simple syrup
  • champage
  • epic blood orange zest

Combine gin, blood orange juice, and simple syrup in a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake and then pour into a champagne flute. Top with champagne and garnish with zest.


  1. says

    A glass of champagne (with any and ALL mixes available) to the haters! Loved your story. Dealing with people like that is so funny/infuriating with a blog. Douche chill foodie types, be gone!

    More importantly, I’m in love with this spin on an F75. So glam and luxe in an easy way. Beautiful, Carey.

    • says

      Amen to that! I have been waiting for a while to tell that story, and now seemed like the perfect time.

      I was so excited to make this, and it turned out even better than expected! This is going to sound ridiculous, but because I couldn’t quite bring myself to drink two of these plus the one I glass that didn’t look quite right at 1:00 in the afternoon, I poured them all into a mason jar and stuck them in the fridge. I think I’ll drink that now. :D

  2. says

    Holy crap. This post is so wonderful on so many levels:

    1) Way to stomp on that troll! Yuck.

    2) I have always viewed champagne mixed drinks as unapproachable, but I literally have all of these things in my house right now. I could make these! Minus those elegant strips of zest, unfortunately. If I tried to do that, I would get very, very angry, and the zester would end up on the other side of the room.

    2a) I must, MUST make these. They’re making me swoon.

    3) There’s a good chance that the next time Kevin pisses me off, I’m going to call him McDouche. He’s been warned.

    • says

      Haha! YES. Kevin better make sure he keeps any and all McDouchiness in check! ;)

      I’m not really big on champagne on its own. I splurged and spent over $30 on a bottle for Johnny and I last Valentine’s Day, and I did think it was really good, but I’m not one for spending $30+ on something that won’t last more than a few days. So spending half that and then mixing it with other things is sooo up my alley. Especially if one of those other things is gin!

      That zesting DESTROYED my poor hand. I zested three oranges in a row, and by the time I was done my hand was covered in citrus mist and was starting to sting like crazy. Then I went into the kitchen to run water over it, not realizing that E had just been running the water full blast on super hot. I turned it on and stuck my hand right under it, and actually screamed in pain. My hand turned bright pink and it still feels like sandpaper. But I’m still pleased with my zesting skills! I wasn’t sure I could do it, but I did. Woo!

  3. Matt says

    Nice. I had some blood orange mimosas for brunch at Umami Burger in Santa Monica a few weeks ago; these look even more delicious.

  4. says

    I really don’t understand people like Kevin ___. Why are “we”, as a society, always criticizing, always putting down other people’s whose tastes might be different from ours, making others feel stupid? Its just so negative, and pointless, and all it does it bring people down. Ugh!

    Your French 75 sounds refreshing and delicious. Champagne – and champagne cocktails – are just about the only cocktails I’ll (albeit very rarely) drink.

    • says

      Yeah, being an overly-critical butthead for no reason at all definitely seems like this guy’s jam. (I’ve seen a number of comments he’s left on the Facebook pages of local businesses that I also follow. He definitely has an “I’m a snot that’s trying too hard” air about him.) I guess that’s just what some people like to do? It’s a shame though. Especially in this town, where most people are so supportive of local food culture.

      Thank you so much, Joyti! :)

  5. says

    After all the effort put into creating wonderful recipes and presenting them in such a beautiful blog as yours….it’s often disheartening to come across such rude comments! I always believe in ‘If you don’t have anything nice to say….then don’t say it’. It’s just pointless for him or rather anyone else to stop by here just to make an ignorant comment!

    Gorgeous shots! and I’m sure this tastes wonderful! love the way you zested those oranges….really elegant!

    • says

      Thank you, Archana!

      I’m so glad that the majority of the people I have the opportunity to interact with in this space are kind and intelligent. Every now and then, there’s a dud, but I just have to remind myself that whatever the problem is, it’s their problem, and not mine. :)

  6. says

    English Prof totally schooled Kevin McDouche – ha! Both of these champagne cocktails look exquisite. Your stunning photos are an inspiration, and I love your site! We’re not into Vday (VD day / Singles Awareness Day, as a friend calls it), but a delicious and beautiful cocktail is always appreciated.

    • says

      Thank you, Alanna! :) It’s funny how running this blog has gotten me into things that I would otherwise have little interest in (like Valentine’s Day). But I do love an excuse to make a good drink!

  7. says

    Internet trolls are the WORST! I’ve had a comment where the person didn’t even address me directly, referring to me as ‘she’; they can just be so disrespectful!

    Haha, I do the exact same thing, I try and google them, and I think if I had a little less self control, I’d probably contemplate signing their e-mail address up for some mega spammy sites….

    Anywho, even though I’m not of “drinking age”, this sounds so good, and I ADORE those long curly swirls of zest (oooohhh yes, and that gradient – just stunning!)

    • says

      Ugh! I will never understand how rude morons become so at ease with their own idiocy! I suppose that’s why we’re running the blogs and coming up with the creative content (and doing a bang-up job of it, I dare say), and they’re just sniffing around in search of new places to flaunt their stupidity.

      (Also, I am enjoying the thought of signing email addresses up for spammy sites a little too much. Must exercise what little self control I have!)

  8. says

    ZOMG. I think you know how I feel about blood oranges, but I am going to go ahead and say it anyway.


    Now that that’s out of the way, a hearty ugh to the repugnant Kevin douche. Some people are just trolls looking to trash on other’s hard work to make themselves feel better about sucking at life. Which I’m sure is Kevin’s problem, especially if he calls himself a “foodie” and hasn’t heard of champagne cocktails. Like, seriously dude? C’mon.

    • says

      Hahaha, yup! It definitely seems like this guy has some issues, and I’m pretty sure a main one is sucking at life. The lack of research is what really kills me! I mean, if being a troll and insulting people to make myself feel better was my thing, I think I’d really want to eliminate any self doubt by making sure I knew what I was talking about before I said anything. But maybe I just don’t understand the mindset of an idiot. I guess that’s a good thing. :D

      Blood orange juice + champagne is such an amazing combination! (I actually had a glass last night that was just that without gin or simple syrup, and it was still so good.)

  9. says

    Oh Kevin–what a fool you are. Last year’s Champagne cocktail was gorgeous, and this one looks equally divine. Cheers, and happy Valentine’s day!

  10. says

    Ok, I have a question: what can one substitute if gin makes one hurl? I mean, I’d love to love gin, but every time I have even a little bit I get ill (so does my mom, must be genetic?). How can I retain a near enough authentic flavor (authentic to your version) without poisoning myself – will vodka work? Seems like I should have to use rum or something… or brandy.


    not so much a mixologist, but formerly a bartender to drunken college students, so I guess it’s a wash

    • says

      Oooo, crazy! I wonder if you and your mom are allergic to juniper berries?

      I think vodka would work as a great substitute. That way the champagne and citrus won’t wind up being drowned out by anything stronger. If you wanted to get a little more herbal flavor in there, you could also add a splash of Lillet Rose or Lillet Blanc. :)

  11. says

    I am *all* for champagne cocktails – unless you’re drinking the serious good stuff, I think you need a little something extra in there. Such a totally stunning drink too. The French 75 is one of my faves but this just takes it completely over the top!

    • says

      Thanks, Kathryn! It’s true — a great champagne needs nothing, but I’d much rather spend a lot less and spiff it up with some other things. :)

  12. says

    These look absolutely gorgeous! I’ve never had a champagne cocktail before, but this sounds very appealing to me. I also love everything about this post – I can completely relate to your crazy! I found your blog via pinterest, and am happy to say you’ve found yourself a new follower. Looking forward to reading more!

  13. says

    It might reflect badly on me to admit how much I enjoyed this tale of a troll. And even though you haven’t exactly gotten revenge, I think revealing his lame comment to the world will do the trick. Though I would LOVE it, even so far after the fact, if you sent him a champagne cocktail. Maybe just as a reminder that our words always have meaning, even careless ones. And I’m looking forward to trying out this blood orange champagne cocktail–it looks *so* pretty and perfect.

    • says

      Hehe — thanks, Elizabeth! (I was actually feeling extra spiteful when I wrote this and had originally posted a link to his meetup page, but a reader quickly called me out on that being a not-cool thing to do, despite the fact that he may have deserved a little public shaming. So I decided to be a bigger person a edit it out.) Maybe one day I will actually have the nerve to send him a champagne cocktail. I might need to start carrying around a “sorry I ruined this by dropping candies in it” note to attach to it, just to jog his memory. :)

  14. Corrine Ann says

    Really inspiring photos – I can’t wait to try my hand at that zest! I’ve had a similar zester for a long while (too long of a while) and have clearly never used it to it’s full potential.

    Also, Hi! I just recently fell upon your blog after perusing through a few pins and am excited to read that you’re in BTV. Having just recently moved here and fallen in love with the food, agriculture, quality of life, everything about the place really, it was great to find your little corner of deliciousness! Thanks again for the inspiration – can’t wait to try some of your recipes.

    • says

      Thank you, Corrine!

      Also, I’m super excited to have a reader in Burlington (who also refers to the city by its airport call sign — yes!). The food culture here (and throughout the state of Vermont, it seems) is amazing, and it’s so great to have readers that know and love it as much as I do. :)

  15. says

    Two of my favorite drinking elements – blood oranges and bubbles! Ok, and gin too. Absolutely beautiful. The long coil of zest nestled on top is especially nice.

  16. nicolem says

    These look delicious… Brings to mind a new liqueur I just discovered: Solerno, a blood orange liqueur. Not cloyingly sweet, and certainly not for the lighthearted… It paired really with a moscato as a mixer, also matching up to your love of champagne and citrus :)

  17. A.Letarte says

    Hey! I love that this link showed up on The Kitchn (Which is one of my other very favorite websites that I may or may not check too frequently.)

    Despite not being quite old enough to drink, I have almost all of your alcoholic beverages bookmarked in hopes of a classy 21st birthday.

    And as always, your photos are beautiful. Have you ever considered selling print on the side?

    • says

      Thank you so much! :) You know, the thought of selling prints has crossed my mind in the past, but I wasn’t sure if anyone would actually want them. It’s good to know there might be an interest! (Also, if you do happen to want any in particular, definitely let me know. My brother actually does printing, so it’s probably even easier for me to have them done than it would be for most people.)

      Cheers to your classy 21st birthday!


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